Bettie Jones

Bettie Jones

Birth date:

January 1, 1960

Death date:

December 26, 2015

Age at Death:

55

About

A devoted Chicago mother of five and grandmother of six, Ms. Jones worked full-time at the Alpha Baking bread factory before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015. After a successful surgery, Ms. Jones was looking for an all-clear from her doctor so she could get back to work. Her brother Robbin Andrews said of her, "She was the kind of person who would come home after a 16-hour shift and then ask you if you needed anything. She was always trying to help, sharing whatever little food she had in her fridge. She was one of a kind like that." The second of seven children in a Christian household, Ms. Jones sang in church choirs and was part of the family singing group called Seven Bells. As an adult she was a fixture at a church near her West Side home. She was affectionately known as Betty Boo - over 250 attended her funeral.

Chicago police were responding to a domestic dispute between a 19-year-old man, and his father, who lived in the apartment above Ms. Jones. Police shot and killed the younger man who they said was handling a bat, and police acknowledge accidentally and tragically killing Ms. Jones in the crossfire. Her family said she was trying to help the arriving police officer by opening the door to the residence (she was a renter and lived on the first floor, and the landlord lived on the second floor). Bullets flew into walls, the door, etc. Ms. Jones family says police were reckless as the officer fired into the residence knowing innocent people lived there. Police alleged there was no video of the event. Ms. Jones daughter, Latisha, was present at the time of the shooting.

Was justice served?

No. The officer involved in the accidental shooting was dismissed from the police force, and initially deemed to be justified in his actions. Later, that decision was overturned as the Jones family filed a wrongful death lawsuit and was awarded $16 million. A judge found the officer to be unjustified in his accidental shooting of Ms. Jones. The officer testified he had no choice but to shoot the young man wielding the bat because he was charging him with a bat. He said he was unable to warn Ms. Jones or aim away from her direction because she was standing behind the charging teen. The officer admitted he did not perform life saving treatment to Ms. Jones (Chicago Police said he is not required to do so). This case represents the extreme efforts required for Black people to get justice.